Traveling to Mars with plasma rockets

  • #1
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Summary:

New plasma rockets could cut the travel time to Mars in half.

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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This look like an Ion drive which we already have put on a few satelites. The problem I see when you have low thrust is how do you slow down to get into orbit once you reach your destination? Unless you spend half the journy accelerating and half the journey stopping again.

What am I missing here, surely this just removes the problem of huge amounts of fuel required but not duration to get there and back.

In reality it will be a regular rockets that gets humans to Mars. Likely we will send the fuel required to get us back into Mars's orbit beforehand and refuel when we get there for the return journey.
 
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russ_watters
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The article doesn't even have a byline. Science journalism is in a sorry state (and Beth Daley, I'm looking at you). It is likely written by Dan Goebel, or at least he is the common thread in the citations.

Next, the article absolutely does not say what the OP claims it says. It says one could carry more payload. The OP has sent us on a wild goose chase. While more payload is a good thing, it's not what the OP said it was.
 
  • #5
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The article doesn't even have a byline.
The author is Gary Li.
This look like an Ion drive which we already have put on a few satelites. The problem I see when you have low thrust is how do you slow down to get into orbit once you reach your destination?
For Mars, at least, there is the possibility of aerobraking.
 
  • #6
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The Aerobraking is an interesting concept, I can see this slowing down a satelite sent to Mars. With the martian atmosphere being so thin though, I don't think this would work on a ship carrying people. Any ship capable of carrying people will need to do so for months on end to reach Mars, the amount of extra equipment needed to sustain human life for that duration will make the ship far bigger and heavier.
 
  • #7
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The Aerobraking is an interesting concept, I can see this slowing down a satelite sent to Mars. With the martian atmosphere being so thin though, I don't think this would work on a ship carrying people. Any ship capable of carrying people will need to do so for months on end to reach Mars, the amount of extra equipment needed to sustain human life for that duration will make the ship far bigger and heavier.
You're right about such a ship being bigger and heavier. Especially interesting given the square-cube law. Yet, aerobraking is the plan of record for SpaceX.
 

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